A quest for permanence of glow in the dark materials

A quest for permanence of glow in the dark materials

How can we give permanence to glow in the dark materials?

photo: http://nipunscorp.com

Bioluminiscent Bay of Puerto Rico  photo: nipunscorp

Thermochromic Materials, have been around for a long time in our lives, applications such as toys, battery power signs, lava-lamps and of course, glow sticks. It is a very cool material, the bad thing is its short term life! Some applications might only last a few minutes and then it must recharge in the case of these mentioned ones. Glow sticks, as the mix is created inside, it dies when the party is over (you stopped shaking your glow stick).

Now, if we dissect this glower, we have to start by Chemiluminescense, which is the luminescent effect created by phosphorescent materials. The main participant here is called LUMINOLa liquid bright blue chemical compound that exhibits luminescence when alloyed with the correct oxidants. Soluble with many solvents but not capable of acting with water. Amazingly, this material in the liquid form is used by forensics to detect traces of blood in a crime scene, then with a dark light the material glows and displays the spots, when sprayed with oxidants, because of the high presence of iron in the blood. Chlorine is one of the agents that cancels its blood detecting capacity.

photo: wikipedia

Luminol- photo: wikipedia

The newest revelation in glow in the dark products by Pro Teq, is this new elastomeric membrane mixed with additives and of course, a glow in the dark powder to create this glowing path surface for any  low-lit park. But how long does it’s capabilities of sun light charging lasts? Besides that, if your park is filled with trees and consequently shadowed, isn’t this affecting the UV light absorption for recharging? About its useful life, well if they used powder instead of liquid to create the surface, scientists say it lasts about 10 years, after that, it will need a retouch.


Pro teq’s UV powered starpath- photo: proteq

Glow in the dark materials come in the form of liquid, powder and aggregate for concrete. Yes!, for concrete! Browse now Tamaro’s products to see how you can update your finishes to glow in the dark ideas (promise this is not advertising, Inmatteria just likes this product!). Amazingly, this aggregate can last up to 10 hours in bright neon glow. Great for parks and pool areas, or even paths in need of guidelines. It is actually a great energy-saving strategy for defining routes and walkways and not consuming so much energy with standard illumination. Also, there are designs incorporating this materials like countertops or exterior furniture. It’s all about making your imagination flow. This should be an open material to explore and innovate a little bit forward!

photo: ambienglowtechnology.com

photo: ambient glow technology

photo: ambientglowtechnology.com

photo: ambient glow technology

The only material or mineral, capable of creating a long-term glowing effect on glow in the dark materials, is the use of radioactive minerals such as Radium, lasts forever but as it is radioactive, it also turns into Radon after 1600 years when it decays.  Now, all presented materials here, are all activated with non-radioactive chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide or hydroxide ions in water, in the case of Lumion combinations.

Therefore, the search for alternative innovations on this material started already.  Resources are available online, offline and all around us, let’s get our hands dirty and experience science and ask: Can we make glow in the dark solutions with common mixtures? Is there any source similar to this minerals so common, right before our eyes, that can create the same results? Taking in account what I have learned along the way, flora and fauna can provide us with the exact techniques necessary for innovating materials that require extensive chemical processes. Accordingly jellyfish (specifically de moon jelly fish) is capable of displaying light, properly called Bioluminiescence. A process in nature, very similar to the same chemical reaction used to create today’s glow in the dark.

Bioluminescence. Let’s give more thought to that!

photo: wisegeek.com

Moon Jelly fish – photo: wisegeek

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.